Canada's highest court declines to hear appeals related to Yukon's Wolverine mine

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The Wolverine mine in southeast Yukon has been closed since 2015. The country's highest court has dismissed separate appeal applications from the territorial government and a biotech company about the now-defunct mine. (Yukon government - image credit)
The Wolverine mine in southeast Yukon has been closed since 2015. The country's highest court has dismissed separate appeal applications from the territorial government and a biotech company about the now-defunct mine. (Yukon government - image credit)

The Supreme Court of Canada has declined to hear two appeals related to the Yukon's now-defunct Wolverine mine.

The country's highest court dismissed separate appeal applications from the territorial government and biotech company Welichem Research General Partnership on Nov. 4.

The court does not provide reasons for dismissing applications.

The Yukon government and Welichem, which had loaned the Wolverine mine's now-bankrupt owners millions of dollars as well as equipment, were attempting to dispute rulings from lower courts concerning what's left of the mine's assets.

The Wolverine mine, located in southeast Yukon, was previously owned and operated by the Yukon Zinc Corporation. The company never posted the full financial security required for the mine and, as it ran into financial issues, stopped maintaining it. The Yukon government stepped in in 2018 to mitigate environmental damage.

Yukon Zinc was placed into receivership in 2019. Since then, the territorial government, Welichem and the receiver, PricewaterhouseCooper, have been involved in legal back-and-forths about assets, management of the mine and what happens next.

According to a memorandum of argument filed to the Supreme Court of Canada in May, the Yukon government was still on-site and had used all of the security Yukon Zinc posted on remediation and maintenance work. As a result, the government had started tapping into public funds to cover costs, with the memorandum stating it expected to spend more than $12 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year on the mine.

The parties will be back in the Yukon Supreme Court to argue new applications related to mine starting Dec. 1.

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